Only just now did I notice that today is Halloween. I saw it on Facebook.
Last year I noticed quite a bit later in the day. I was in the kids’ room putting The Toddler to sleep when I heard a knock. So unusual is a knock on the door at 7pm that I froze in fear. About 30 minutes later it dawned on me that it was probably Halloween trick or treaters.
So, even now that I realise it is Halloween I’m still a bit m’eh about the whole thing.
To me, even though I know it has a long history that predates the commercially-driven US holiday, it isn’t something that’s ever been part of my life.
I didn’t trick or treat when I was a kid. I had never laid eyes on an orange pumpkin – they were all bluey-grey up here! Beyond what I saw on US sitcoms, I knew nothing of Halloween. To me it was something done somewhere else – like Thanksgiving and the SuperBowl. Something I was aware of but watched from across the ocean.
In my house we were in trouble if we over-articulated the word “strawberry” – we were to say “strawbry” like good like Aussie kids. And I wouldn’t have dared utter this sentence – “put the trash can out on the sidewalk so we can come eat some candy and choc chip cookies!”. I even typed that carefully in case my mum heard it … (from 1000km away).
So the question is – are my kids going to grow up in an Australia that has embraced an ‘Americanised’ version of Halloween? Probably. Am I going to encourage it? No. But in the long run there are probably few things I can do to avoid it.
I guess the only thing I can do is to make sure that my kids are exposed to traditions that I did have growing up. Things that gave me enormous pleasure and security.
I’ll keep eating ‘lollies’ and they’ll always be ‘biscuits’. I’ll teach them how to dunk their gingernuts in milk and eat mangoes straight from the tree. I’ll take them to the beach to slide down sand dunes on esky lids and to the pool where we’ll have an iceblock afterwards. We’ll sweat it out at Christmas time and fight over the pork crackling. We’ll play backyard cricket in January and the rule will be ‘six and out’. We’ll eat dinner in front of the TV on Friday nights and we’ll kiss each other goodnight every night. They’re not American traditions or even uniquely Australian – but they’re mine and I loved them.
And I promise, mum, that I’ll make sure they call them ‘strawbries”!